The emergency department on Maple Street officially became an urgent care clinic this month.

COURTESY PHOTO: JEFF SCHILLING - Lori James-Nielsen, president of Tuality Healthcare, cut the ribbon to formally mark this months transition of Tualitys emergency department in Forest Grove into an urgent care clinic.Earlier this month, Forest Grove's only emergency department officially became Forest Grove's only urgent care clinic.

Tuality Healthcare, which operates the facility, announced the transition in May. Tuality said the decision was made to better respond to the community's needs.

"In the evaluation of our current services, we have determined that our Emergency Department in Forest Grove is most often utilized as an Urgent Care, and that patients with true emergencies would be better served by the Emergency Department at Tuality Community Hospital on our Hillsboro campus," Tuality stated in May.

The transition was effective July 1, according to Tuality, but the healthcare company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, July 17, to officially mark it.

Guests at last Tuesday's ribbon-cutting included Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax and other city officials.

"I appreciate that Tuality recognizes their commitment to Forest Grove and western Washington County and is continuing to provide healthcare to all of us," Truax said. "They are an important part of what makes this a special place to be."

Lori James-Nielsen, Tuality's president, cut the ribbon in front of the newly rechristened urgent care clinic at 1809 Maple St.

James-Nielsen called the change "step one of many next phases."

"We are just beginning to envision what belongs on this campus," she stated.

The changeover from emergency to urgent care services is part of a $6 million remodel of the Forest Grove hospital.

"When I initially approached our emergency physicians about continuing to practice in Forest Grove in an urgent care setting, they all had wonderful things to say about working here," said Dr. Joe Hardman, Tuality's chief medical officer. "They love this community, they love practicing here and they all elected to stay here."

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., including weekends. It offers many of the same services as an emergency department, such as stitching up wounds, stabilizing sprains and dealing with common ailments like the flu.

Tuality Community Hospital in downtown Hillsboro, located at 335 S.E. Eighth Ave., now has the nearest emergency department to Forest Grove.

The Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center at 2875 S.E. Stucki Ave. in Hillsboro also provides emergency services, including to non-Kaiser Permanente members.

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